Breaking the Plateau

“Come out from them and be separate says the Lord… 2 Corinthians 6:17

During my career, one of the most challenging days was Wednesday-known as Hump Day. The expectation was to push even harder because there were only two days left in the workweek. Since statistics prove that Friday has the lowest level of productivity; Wednesday’s were quite vicious for catch up work along with the daily goals for that day. I often day-dreamed of how beautiful I would feel on Friday at 5 pm as I struggled to meet the grueling deadlines on Wednesdays.

However, my wishes for better days and a lower standard of productivity for the third workday of the week never came to fruition. Now, as I think about my previous dread of Wednesdays, I have a couple of time management solutions that would have changed my outlook and increased my productivity to coincide with my times of peak energy. Also, I could have collaborated with co-workers to find out their secrets to success in managing the hardship of (relentless-work) Wednesday.

Many times we reach a plateau in our spiritual lives. We just cannot figure out the answer to getting over the hump. We pray, study the Word, attend church, exercise, eat right, and practice kindness; but, still feel as if something is missing. The solution to overcoming our stunted spiritual growth may link to how we utilize our time. We have received the gift of 24 hours to serve God through various activities. With the daily distractions we face, it is easy for our secular activities to overpower our spiritual activities. God admonishes us to separate ourselves from the hustle and bustle of the world. Also, time with the Creator includes more than praying, studying, and attending church. Have we included helping others in their time of need, or is our time solely devoted to self? The gift of our time is necessary to facilitate spiritual growth. Develop a Spiritual Time Log. Give 1-2 hours a day in the pursuit of a non-self activity. With a few time management changes, we can say good-bye to our “spiritual plateau” and reach our fullest-spiritual potential.


Life is Still Simple

Stress; technological advancements; increased racism and violence; health epidemics; ageism; natural disasters; financial bankruptcies, and the list grows as time passes. One can easily become despondent if he or she focuses on the conditions of their environment. Will things ever get better? Many individuals transition to less populated areas to get away from the stressors of life. Although, living in a peaceful environment has its positive benefits; we require additional actions and resources to simplify our lives.

The answer to a simple life is Christ. Belonging to Christ changes everything. Peace, joy and the comfort of knowing that, “All things work together for the good of them that love the Lord”, is only available through a spiritual connection with the Creator. Make the move today, and you will never have to relocate again.

Don’t Worry-Be Happy

Don’t Worry-Be Happy was a popular song many years ago by the singer-Bobby McFerrin. The song was simple with a jubilant melody and repetitive lyrics. It conveyed the message that everything would work out alright. The society that we live in promotes self-reliance under the guise of pre-planning the future for your life. By always remaining one step ahead of what may happen tomorrow, you will not be caught by surprise. The pressures of completing the tasks for today; thinking about the duties for tomorrow, and wondering about the future, has left us in a perpetual state of worry and unhappiness.

What is the resolution to alleviating the never-ending pressures of life? Believe it or not, the Written Word actually concurs with the concept of Don’t Worry-Be Happy. In Matthew 6:34, we are admonished to “…don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (NLT) The step to a worry-free life is to pray when you awaken, and give your daily activities to God. Do not be surprised if your plans do not coincide with God’s plans. Smile, while humbly accepting His divine intervention. He has your today, and your tomorrows from beginning to end. Go ahead, don’t worry- smile, and be happy.

© Sonya Johnson-Ruiz 2017

Watch the Who, What, and Where

I adopted my cat when she was 6 months old. She was raised in an inside environment until we relocated to Texas. Her first tree climbing experience was traumatic for both of us. For about an hour, she sat on on branch and loudly meowed in distress. I called my husband at work and informed him of the situation, hoping that he would come to the rescue. He immediately told me that she would figure it out. I began to call her name and slowly she came down the tree grabbing onto the branches with her claws. I nearly fainted, the day she brought me a baby bird as a present. My husband did come home from work to remedy the situation by rescuing the bird. Although, my cat was raised inside all of her life, when she was exposed to the outside environment, her innate qualities surfaced as a skillful hunter as she fearlessly climbed trees and chased birds.

The Bible tells us that we were born in sin and shaped in iniquity. Even though we were created in the image of God, our natural desire (innate) leans toward sin. The individuals we associate with; the television programs that we watch; the sensual music we listen to; and the places we visit have a direct impact on satisfying our desires for worldly pleasures. It is a conscious decision to choose situations that compromise our Christian-Christ like values. The choices that we make will either develop our sinful nature or sinless nature. Being aware and overcoming our natural desire is only accomplished by praying and watching the who, what, and where situations in our lives. Once we acknowledge our innate sinful desires, we canavoid the choices that we would normally make.

It is only through Christ that we can choose the who, what, and where, that will develop our spiritual skillfulness.

Preparing for Eternity

img_20171024_102927_1631541433674.jpgWe now live in a society filled with darkness. The peak of racial tensions, heinous crimes, and hatred have resurfaced in a manner that will discourage the most devout Christian. However, prior to Jesus ascending to heaven, He left a message of encouragement for all believers. John 14:1-3 tells us: Let not your heart be troubled you believe in God believe also in me. In my father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am there you may be also.

Regardless of the circumstances that surround us, when we ask for God’s unconditional love, we are able to view life through spiritual eyes. Prepare for eternity by loving others, and focusing on the promise of a perfect life where love will be present forever.

Unable to Move Forward?

There are many reasons that prevent individuals from moving forward.

1. Fear

2. Bitterness/Anger

3. Lack of knowledge

4. Unwilling to learn new options

5. Refusal to forgive others or yourself

Negative thoughts and emotions will never produce positive outcomes. Seek God through prayer, and the guidance of a professional therapist for immediate help. It is possible to change at any stage in your life. Moving forward provides the freedom to accomplish the impossible.

Check out this article from AF Daily Devotional

Beautiful Buildings Average reading time is about 1 and a half minutes An Amazing Fact: The Taj Mahal (meaning “crown of buildings”) is a mausoleum located in Agra, India. It was built in 1653 by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It is often recognized as one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. Myths and legends surround the construction of the Taj. As one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, there is great interest in this amazing structure. We know it took about 22 years and 22,000 people to construct the building. Some estimate that in today’s dollar, it cost about $100 million to construct. Apparently 1,000 elephants were used to transport building materials during construction. The architecture skillfully combines Persian, Islamic, and Indian styles. The materials used to adorn the Taj Mahal include 28 different varieties of semi-precious and precious stones with exquisite inlay work. Depending on which time of day you view the tomb, you will see different colors—pink in the morning, white in the day, and golden in the moonlight. The pillars surrounding the Taj are slightly tilted outwards so that in the event of an earthquake they will fall away from the tomb itself. The most beautiful temple in the world built in ancient times was surely Solomon’s temple. His preparations are described in 1 Kings chapters 4 and 5. His labor force was 30,000 strong. His father, David, had already assembled a large store of materials. But we find Solomon working with Hiram, king of Tyre, to obtain a large harvest of timber (cedar and cypress logs). Huge stones were quarried, and Solomon paid them well. Solomon probably would have been unhappy to know that this temple was named after himself. When writing to Hiram, he states, “And behold, I propose to build a house for the name of the Lord my God” (1 Kings 5:5). Even the king of Tyre responds, “Blessed be the Lord this day,” giving thanks and glory to God (v. 7). The temple, which represents the life and work of Jesus, was to always point heavenward. Christ now stands in the heavenly sanctuary, alive and serving us. He is not dead in a tomb in Palestine. KEY BIBLE TEXTS And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. Exodus 25:8 Was this devotional forwarded to you? Click here to get your own subscription → Like us on Facebook → Follow us on Twitter